Ask a Mechanic | Packing for a Long Ride

Crystal asks, “I’m going to be riding my first century next month and like being prepared. What are the best things I can take with me to get me home in a pinch?”

Great question! For road and mountain cyclists alike, there is a relatively short list of things that you can take on your long rides to ensure that you make it home no matter what happens.

Though it’s not too long of a list, it’s more than we’d recommend for any short or jersey pockets. For this reason, we’d recommend purchasing a fanny pack, hydration pack, or seat bag first to store all of your necessities

Once you’ve got your storage situation all dialed, you can begin to accumulate the following products. First and foremost, you’ll need a good multi-tool that has a chain breaker on it. Both Lezyne and Crank Brothers offer several multi-piece tools that also include a chainbreaker. To go along with your multi-tool, it will also be best to get at least one chain pin or Powerlock chain connector to fix your chain should it break.

Next up, we’d recommend two to three zip ties. You never know when one might break on your mountain bike’s cables, and they’ll always come in handy during a worst case scenario where you broke your rear derailleur off and need to hang it on the chainstay away from the rear wheel.

Most everybody has been saved by it at one point, and even pro tour mechanics are never caught without some on hand. I’m talking about Duct Tape. Whether you prefer Duct Tape or Guerrilla Tape, don’t forget to have a little bit on hand at all times. And if storage is an issue, you can always simply roll it onto itself.

If you’re one to be truly prepared, then don’t forget to pick up a spare derailleur hanger for your specific bike. Murphy’s Law states that the one time you don’t have it is the one time it will explode.

Something that should be a part of every bike ride, no matter how short or long, is a derailleur cable. They’re incredibly cheap, don’t take up much space, and are critical to your bike’s function.

One thing that’s always good to have on hand is $10. Whether you are bonking hard and need a burger, forgot to pick up cheese from the grocery store on the way home, or are in dire need of chain lube, having $10 will do the trick.

Last but not least, we’d recommend that you carry two tubes with you. Most of the time, one is plenty, but for the minimal extra weight of another, it’ll make your day that much better when you don’t have to cut your tube and tie it in a know to make it home.

For those heading out on longer rides,  stop by Art’s Cyclery and make sure you’re well prepared for what’s ahead.